This is the scariest job interview question — and how to answer it

By Anita Hamilton

Mic.com

There’s nothing quite like the spine-tingling jolt of getting called in for a job interview after weeks of sending out your resume, crossing your fingers and mostly getting a bunch of canned emails thanking you for submitting your application in response. But that initial excitement can quickly turn to anxiety if you’re not prepared once you finally walk in the door.

As it turns out, interviewing in person is the most intimidating part of the job search process, according to a survey of 570 undergraduates and recent college grads by career site WayUp. The fear factor doesn’t end there either.

Once you sit down face-to-face with your interviewer, what’s the “scariest” question you could get asked? For nearly 41% of current undergraduates and 35% of recent grads who replied to the online survey conducted in October, it was: “Out of all the other candidates, why should we hire you?”

That question beat out four other choices, including, “What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Students and recent grads alike said they were most intimidated by by being put on the spot about why an employer should hire them in particular.Source: WayUp/WayUp

 

How to answer the toughest question

“Basically the entire interview boils down to this question,” Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster, said in a phone interview. Thankfully, making a case for why you’re the best fit for the job isn’t all that hard — so long as you’ve got your answer figured out in advance. “You need to be convincing and honest, but also have your talking points ready to go,” she added.

The best kind of answer achieves two goals: It demonstrates what you bring to the job, and it conveys your respect for and understanding of their business. The more precisely you can quantify your answers the better.

Here are a couple of sample answers you might give:

“Your company is a leader in industry X, and that is an area I excel in as well, as you can see from the fact that I have been the top sales person on a 10-person team also doing X for the last two years.”

“I’m a great fit for this position because it requires excellent project management skills, and I led the rollout of products X, Y and Z at my last job, which boosted revenue by 30% over the last year.”

If you’re new to the job market and don’t have hard numbers to quantify your skills, you can go with a softer approach, such as:

“You mentioned that attention to detail is a key aspect of this job. In my last job [or internship] at company Y, I got top marks for this in my reviews by doing A, B and C, which saved the company both time and money.”

And if the interviewer asks you about a skill you don’t have, you can get around that by using an example that shows you are a self-starter:

“I haven’t done that before, but I’m a quick learner. For example, in my last job at company Y, I learned the billing system in 2 days, compared to the full week it typically took new hires.”

The key here is to “know your unique value proposition,” which should be tailored to the job and the company, career expert Heather Huhman said: “If you don’t know it, you’re never going to be able to sell yourself to an employer.”

Click here to read the original article.

8 Do’s And Don’ts When You Apply For A Job Online

By James Hu, Next Avenue Contributor

Job board sites like Indeed or SimplyHired make it seem easy to apply for a job online. They have a system that keeps your resumé in tow to readily submit. And many offer One Click Application services, auto-filling your personal information in the designated areas. However, I’m willing to bet you’ve never even received a response from one of these applications.

That’s why I’m offering eight Do’s and Don’ts to effectively guide you through the process of applying for jobs online:

1. DO check out the company’s website before you apply. This one is two-fold.

First, recruiters want to see that you have a special interest in their company. They’re more likely to pursue a candidate who has a history with the company or industry and a story about why they’re applying now. Take the time to learn its mission and values. Then, incorporate those into your job history and cover letter. This will help you stand out among other applicants who applied without doing their homework.

Second, checking out the company’s website helps you see if the firm is one where you’d want to work. Isn’t it better to know before you fill out an application that the business doesn’t match your values or is further than you’d like to commute? Save yourself and the recruiter time and only fill out applications for places where you would be happy working.

2. DO tailor your resumé keywords for each job you’ll apply for online. The tendency when applying to jobs online is to quickly submit your resumé and cover letter and move forward. That’s a mistake,

The reason? When applying for a job online, there is a high chance your application will go right into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to be reviewed by a recruiter. Applicant Tracking Systems parse and sort resumés by topics or keywords, like education or managing a budget.

Credit: Shutterstock

In order to optimize your resumé for ATS, you should match the keywords in it to the job description the company provides. Online tools (shameless plug: ones such as my company’s Jobscan.co) can help you identify the right keywords by copy and pasting your resumé and the job description into the site.

3. DO add your up-to-date LinkedIn profile. More and more companies now request you include a link to your LinkedIn profile in their job applications. Having an active LinkedIn profile helps show a recruiter that you’re serious about your job search and career. Many recruiters will search for it anyway, so making their job easier goes a long way toward making yourself a worthy candidate.

You can include more information about your background and skills on LinkedIn than through a normal job application, so take advantage of this opportunity.

Before you link to it, though, make sure your LinkedIn profile is job-search ready. Add a great picture, show some of your recent projects and make sure you’re active in relevant LinkedIn networks. For more insights on getting your LinkedIn profile recruiter ready, check out this great post from The Muse: “The 31 Best LinkedIn Profile Tips for Jobseekers.”

4. DO write a cover letter. Although a cover letter is sometimes optional for an online job application, you should always submit one. A cover letter is a great way to talk more about yourself and your experience and to incorporate the company’s values and mission statement into your application.

Including a cover letter also has a more tactical advantage. Many Applicant Tracking Systems will account for a cover letter when recruiters search by keywords.

5. DO make sure the application on the company site is the same as the one on the job board. This is especially important with job-board features such as “one click apply” or “quick apply.” The company site may ask for something specific, like a salary requirement, or request you email someone your resumé and cover letter. If you apply without looking at the instructions and miss something, it will look like you can’t follow directions.

 

3 Things Not to Do When You Apply for a Job Online

1. DON’T type lazily or in shorthand. Sometimes, our online habits win out without us even realizing it. I occasionally receive applications where the candidate’s name is all lowercase. Not taking the time to capitalize the first letters of your name tells me three things: 1) You lack attention to detail; 2) You are lazy and 3) Working here is not important to you. You don’t want a recruiter to think any of those!

Many people also associate writing online with informality. But when you apply for a job online, you want to look professional and that means writing more formally. For example, for a cover letter, fill a page and use a formal heading.

2. DON’T use auto-fill to apply for positions. Sure, this makes things easier, but you’ll be trading results for ease. If you have ever looked back at the information loaded into your application when using auto-fill, you may have seen that it didn’t align correctly. Your “Position” answer might instead say which college you attended. Or prior employment dates might just show start dates

Auto-fill may also format the details of your job history in a strange or confusing way. Instead of leaving this to chance, fill in the details one at a time, double-checking as you go.

3. DON’T leave sections incomplete. It can feel redundant to upload your resumé and then type in your work history manually, so the temptation can be to leave that section blank. Don’t!

On many Applicant Tracking Systems, the information typed in for job history is more visible than the resumé, which someone would have to click to view.

Don’t forget to tailor these sections in the same way you would tailor your resumé to match the necessary keywords to really optimize your resumé.

Click here to read the original piece published on Forbes.com.

 

 

5 misconceptions about the staffing industry

Perception versus reality.

Business owners often seek to control the perception of their companies so that they accurately reflect reality. This is easier said than done. Perceptions are like habits – they tend to die hard. The staffing business has long battled a sometimes lackluster perception. At BARRYSTAFF, here are the most common misconceptions we run into … and how we set the record straight.

“Temporary” employees are nothing more than short-term fixes. In truth, the term “temp” is outdated. We no longer refer to ourselves as a “temp agency,” but rather as a “staffing company.” There’s a significant difference. Gone are the days when folks would show up to the local agency each morning and collect a paycheck for a single job later that afternoon. In reality, what we’re doing is probably much different than what people are prone to imagining.

We give companies employees to try out on a limited basis. If an employee is working out then companies may extend a permanent job offer after 90 days. We handle everything until that job offer is extended. This process allows the company – and the employee – to feel each other out. One of the key analytics we study is our retention rate. In other words, we want our companies and employees to stick together. That’s our goal.

We only staff for one industry. While it’s true that staffing companies have specializations (BARRYSTAFF’s is manufacturing), many agencies are capable of recruiting for many, many fields. At BARRYSTAFF, we have placed architects, engineers and chemists. We have an entire team solely dedicated to filling clerical positions. So while manufacturing is our wheelhouse, we’ll never turn away someone looking for a communications position. Or graphic design. Or IT. We can help them too.

Job seekers have to pay to use our service. Job seekers pay nothing. Zero. Zilch. That’s not how we make money. Instead, the companies we partner with pay us to help them find quality employees. No job seeker will ever need to pay a dime to a company like BARRYSTAFF.

We only offer dead end jobs. The fact of the matter is that there is plenty of room for advancement in the jobs we hire for. Many of our placements have gone on to management positions.

We only work with struggling companies (Why else would they need a staffing company?) This is one we have to push back against fairly often. We work with big companies and small companies. Some are international. Others are hyper local. They use us because it is time-consuming to search, interview and drug screen candidates. It’s expensive. It cuts down on production. Advertising alone can run up a hefty tab. And these days, the job search is changing drastically from year to year. We live in a fast-paced digital world now, and our clients need to stay focused on what they’re doing. More of them are trusting experts like BARRYSTAFF to handle this work. It’s a specialized service during a time of rapid change.

And our services don’t stop at staffing. We often find ourselves working as a fully- functional HR branch for companies. It’s just another amenity we’re proud to offer.

 

 

9 things people think are terrible for their careers that actually aren’t

By Rachel Gillett

Via Business Insider

Speaking up about problems

“No one likes to work with a whiner, but the occasional gripe emanating from someone who ordinarily doesn’t complain holds weight,” says Vicky Oliver, author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.” “The key is to kvetch in moderation.”

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, tells Business Insider that you need to embrace the idea of having difficult conversations to get what you need. “Instead of backing off in fear, you’ll learn to handle tough problems while treating people with dignity and respect,” she says.

A bad performance review

Oliver says that a lackluster performance review isn’t always a career-ender, as long you take the opportunity to fix what’s wrong. “You must show you can take the feedback and respond proactively to it,” Oliver says.

Taking time off

Most Americans are leaving vacation time on the table — in fact, Americans didn’t take 658 million vacation days in 2015 and lost 222 million of them entirely because they couldn’t be rolled over, paid out, or banked for any other benefit. That adds up to about $61.4 billion in lost benefits.

“Workers are often celebrated for wearing multiple hats and logging numerous hours,” Haefner says. “But working without letup is a bad habit that can jeopardize business, health, and the life you’re supposedly working toward.”

Studies suggest that not taking enough vacation time is bad for your health, happiness, relationships, productivity, and prospects for a promotion.

Making a lateral move

Just because you’re not moving up doesn’t mean you’re making the wrong move. Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster, suggests making a lateral move when you’re immersed in a dead-end job, working for a toxic boss, or need a change of scenery.

“When you work for a new employer, even if your title and responsibilities, as well as salary, are pretty similar to your former one, think of it as temporary,” she says. “Once you’re in a better environment, one in which you can flourish and grow, that’s not so terrible after all.”

Faking it ’til you make it

This advice can certainly backfire, especially when you’re taking on major debt to appear more successful or you’re ignoring the signs that it’s time to move on.

But it’s not always so terrible for your career. Indeed, Salemi says ‘faking it ’til you make it’ can help you overcome a common problem among working people — imposter syndrome.

As Harvard Business School professor and “Presence” author Amy Cuddy tells Harvard Business Review, faking it ’til you make it is more “about pretending to yourself that you’re confident” and framing challenges as opportunities than pretending to have skills you don’t. “Don’t think, ‘Oh no, I feel anxious.’ Think, ‘This is exciting.’ That makes it easier to get in there and engage,” she says.

Being bypassed for a promotion

“It hurts terribly when it happens, but sometimes you simply aren’t ready to handle the responsibility,” Oliver says. If you don’t get the promotion you wanted, Oliver suggests showing a brave face and dogged determination to shine so that you won’t be bypassed the next time around.

Crying at work

There’s no crying in business, at least not according to Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran. “The minute a woman cries, you’re giving away your power. You have to cry privately,” she once told an entrepreneur on the show.

But not everyone agrees. “You’re always taught to suppress emotion, but sometimes showing your upset can actually move you forward,” Oliver says. “You don’t want to wail at the top of your lungs in your cubicle, but some well-placed anger has its place.”

Political activist Gloria Steinem said that she often cries when angry, and the best way to handle it when it happens at work is to allow yourself to get angry, cry, and then keep talking through the tears, as a female executive once taught her. “She had mostly men working for her,” Steinem said. “And she would just say to them, ‘I am crying because I’m angry. You may think I’m sad. I am not sad. This is the way I get angry.'”

Sheryl Sandberg says that sharing emotions helps build deeper relationships at work, and experts say that, as long as the emotion is sincere, crying can increase people’s support and admiration for leaders. One study even found that found that expressing sadness can even help you in negotiations because it can “make recipients experience greater other-concern.”

Leaving your job without having another one lined up

In some ways, waiting to quit your job until you have another one lined up makes sense. Cutting off your income supply can be hard on your finances. You might also think getting a job would be infinitely more challenging when you’re unemployed because of stigma.

But Salemi says that if you’re miserable in your job, deflated and exhausted in a toxic work environment, and have extremely limited time and energy to find a new job, you’re probably not going to make a good impression when interviewing anyway.

She also says that whenever she’s interviewed job candidates who have quit without anything else lined up, the conversation never lingered on the topic. The conversation would go a little something like: “Why’d you leave your last job?” “I was completely burned out, getting sick, working 80-hour weeks, and my health was at risk, so I needed to make a clean break to re-energize my career!” And then on to the next question.

Taking a pay cut for a new job

“Taking a pay cut sounds counterintuitive to everything you’ve probably ever heard, right? Work hard, get recognized, get promoted, get paid more. Repeat,” Salemi says. “Well, there are many times when taking a pay cut can actually position you better for the long-term.”

“Your career, as cliché as it sounds, is a marathon, not a sprint, and sometimes it’s not a straight ladder up to the executive suite,” she says.

Just like making a lateral move can open you up to new opportunities, Salemi says that, if you’re in a toxic environment and haven’t gotten a pay increase in three years, taking a pay cut to leap to a competitor is a fair price to pay in the short term when you work for a company that will promote you and ultimately pay you more in the long run.

 

 

Employers Reveal The One Thing Someone Did During An Interview That Got Them Hired On The Spot

By

Via Tickld.com

Employers of Reddit were asked: “What is one thing someone has said or done in an interview that made you want to hire them on the spot?” These are some of the best answers.


But one guy said “Well…..I like enchiladas a lot…..and I have IBS….so I may rack up your toilet paper expenses”

Hired him on the spot, honesty and hilarity in one package. I figured in the very least he would be entertaining to work with.

MadameInternet

2. On the way to the conference room for the interview, interviewee instinctively picked up a gum wrapper off the floor and threw it in the nearest trash can. I just caught this peripherally, and he made no effort to show off his “insignificant good act.”

Honestly, I have never hired a single person on an impulse or based on something clever they said/did in an interview. It’s about qualifications and overall leaving a good impression. Trash-boy did get hired, and his simple act was really representative of him being pleasant and thoughtful. He also had several years experience in field.

I’ve been hiring for years, I do pick up on little things… sometimes a gum wrapper can distinguish one candidate from the others.

3lazycats

3. I never “hire on the spot”, as I always give some thought to the decision even when I’m very positive about someone.

However, I usually give screening tests to candidates. I had one young, inexperienced candidate that did not even pass the first screening question. Afterwards asked me to show him the correct answer and said something along the lines of “Thanks for showing me that I have a lot to learn.” I asked if he wanted some pointers & ended up lending him a book on the subject. A few days later I decided that that’s the attitude I’d like to hire and gave him the green light. Did not regret.

PoisonTaffy

4. One of my hiring questions is, “Tell me about a time you made a mistake doing a job. Tell me what happened and what you learned from it.” One girl said, “Well, this story is kind of gross and might not be what you want, but it’s what comes to mind right away.”

Then she told me about a time during her medical internship at a local hospital where she tried to prove herself to a skeptical doctor by taking a large dead body down to the morgue by herself, even though she had never gone down before and was supposed to take someone else with her. She was a tiny girl, but in good shape and apparently when she got down there she was supposed to move the body from the gurney to a slab (which is why she was supposed to go down with another person). She tried to move it on her own, but failed to lock the wheels on the gurney first and ended up on the floor, pinned under a large dead body for over fifteen minutes before anyone found her.

She said that from that she learned to follow procedures and to not be too cocky to ask for help when she needed it. I didn’t see how I could not hire her after that story. Because it was so genuine and atypical from the usual answers I heard for that question.

5. On a technical interview for computer stuff…

Me: if you come across a problem you’ve never seen before, how to approach it?
Soon to be new employee: I’d Google it.

This is the best answer. Most people go crying to vendors or support contracts before doing a simple Google search, and I find that offensive.

threeLetterMeyhem

6. We were hiring for a specific position and had arranged a number of interviews for it from pre-screened applicants. As we had to play with real people’s real schedules, we ended up with the strongest candidate (UC Berkeley PhD) going first. He did very well in the interview and it was kind of a given that we’d hire him.

This left us in an awkward spot with one very interesting interview of someone completely without a degree. However, there were budget restrictions so this was a long shot.

Meanwhile inside the company we had a fairly complex technical problem going on. Instead of just having a “hi… bye” interview with this other guy, we threw our complex problem at him about 24h before the interview. The [guy] solved it before the interview, and did it really quite brilliantly.

At that point I was willing to go to the ropes to get him.

Delheru

7. I was hiring for a graphic design position, and had a number of resumes on my desk. One guy had actually reached out to me personally through our website, and I just told him to email his resume to our job inbox.

We had just moved to a new office, and I posted a photo one morning to our Facebook page showing the new view off to our fans. That afternoon, he showed up at our office in a suit and tie, asked for the job, killed the interview and got it. He figured out the general area we were in from the photo, called the various office buildings to ask ahead, found us, and just showed up. 2 years later, he’s still there and doing an absolutely fantastic job.

kranzmonkey

8. I hired someone for giving me a dirty look in an interview.

Allow me to preface this by saying I really despise the interview process; I find that a person’s resume generally tells me everything I need to know and for me the interview is merely a formality to insure the applicant doesn’t have any personality or hygiene issues.

That said, I was hiring a desktop tech. I had a really stupid question that went something like “If I give you this, this and this piece of information would you be able to connect a PC to our domain?” The correct answer was yes.

Three applicants stammered and stuttered and said they figured they could but might need a little practice. The fourth applicant looked at me like I was insane but answered in the affirmative with no hesitation.

I hired her on the spot.

wizard10000

9. Post most of the interview, when we’ve turned to “Do you have any questions for us?”, the guy said, really matter-of-fact and not at all obsequiously, “Well, I’d like to know if there’s anything that we’ve talked about that has left you with doubts about me, so I can be sure you’ve got the information you need when you’re considering my fit.”

It was so simple, but so honest and effective because it was phrased as, ‘i want to help you be thorough’, but also quite self-serving because it got out in front of those doubts — we were immediately amazed that no one asks this. I’m never going to not ask it again (not that I’m looking, in case my boss has a line to the NSA).

hnice

10. Hiring for a programmer position and I decide to just Google his name. Turns out he also owns a Darth Vader outfit and puts it on to go visit sick kids in the hospital.

I hired him so fast it would make your head spin.

artformarket

11. He stalked me and found out my birthday was that week. Came to the interview with a cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes and awkwardly sang me Happy Birthday in front of all the other interviewees.

I ended up firing him a month later for being terrible at everything.

skimble-skamble

12. I was interviewing people for a seasonal outside job, and I was doing the interviewing inside the marketing dept in an available office. This young kid with long hair, a spiked dog collar, upside-down crosses for earrings and a trench coat was my next interview and as we were walking to the office I was using, I noticed several marketing staff whispering and staring with shocked expressions at this kid. He walked with confidence and waited for me to sit down before he did, he was very polite and made excellent eye contact and gave me the best interview of the day.

When I explained that since this was a position dealing with the public and children and told him the earrings and dog collar would have to go, should he be hired, without hesitation he removed them and gave me this charming grin and I hired him on the spot and told him he was the most genuine person I had interviewed so far. He turned out to be one of my best employees and was hired full-time and stayed with me for 5 years.

astepUPfromperving

Continue reading here.

Candid candidates: The 10 weirdest interview mistakes

by The HR Specialist on January 30, 2017 10:00am
in Hiring,Human Resources

Step Brothers, Columbia Pictures 2008

It’s like Christmas in January—that most wonderful time of the year in which CareerBuilder.com releases its annual list of job interview quirks and missteps committed by candidates in the preceding year.

The employment website polled 2,600 HR pros and hiring managers late last year and whittled the interview weirdness down to the following 10 “winners” in which a candidate:

  • Called his wife to ask her if the starting salary was enough before continuing the interview
  • Brought childhood toys to the interview
  • Said her hair was perfect when asked why she should become part of the team
  • Bragged about being in the local newspaper for alleged theft
  • Ate a pizza he brought with him
  • Ate crumbs off the table
  • Asked where the nearest bar was located
  • Invited interviewer to dinner afterwards
  • Stated that if the interviewer wanted to get to heaven, she would hire him
  • Asked interviewer why her aura didn’t like her.

CareerBuilder also asked about candidate behavior that would prompt an instant “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” rejection.

Job interview deal-breakers

Being caught lying: 66%
Answering a phone call: 64%
Appearing arrogant: 59%
Dressing inappropriately: 49%
Lacking accountability: 48%

Source: CareerBuilder.com survey, January 2017

 

29 annoying words and phrases on your résumé that make hiring managers cringe

Geeky nervous businessman looking at camera on white backgroundWhile many large companies use automated résumé-screener software to cut down the initial pool of job applicants, loading your résumé with meaningless buzzwords is not the smartest way to get noticed.

“Nearly everyone is guilty of using buzzwords from time to time, but professionals are evaluated increasingly on their ability to communicate,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director for professional-placement firm Robert Half.

Some of the major problems with using buzzwords, according to Mary Lorenz, a corporate-communications manager at CareerBuilder, are that they have become so overused that they’ve lost all meaning, and they don’t differentiate the job seeker from other candidates because they’re so generic.

Other, less jargony words and terms should be avoided when they serve little purpose to the hiring manager. All these words do is waste their time and, as a result, you lose out on the few precious seconds a recruiter spends scanning your résumé.

Instead, Lorenz says job seekers should speak in terms of accomplishments and show rather than tell.

“Avoiding overused terms can help job seekers convey their message and stand out from the crowd,” McDonald says.

Here’s what you should avoid:

1. ‘Leadership’

According to LinkedIn, “leadership” was the top buzzword on its user’s profiles. And if the word doesn’t help you stand out on your LinkedIn profile, you can bet it won’t make your résumé more eye-catching, either.

Rather than saying you have excellent leadership skills, you’d do better to highlight specific examples of when you demonstrated these skills and what kind of results you saw.

2. ‘Exceptional communicator’

Tina Nicolai, who has read more than 40,000 résumés since founding her company Résumé Writers’ Ink, previously told Business Insider that skills like being an “exceptional communicator” are “baseline expectations in today’s market.” Stating that you are really great at communication isn’t, in fact, saying very much.

3. ‘Best of breed’

When CareerBuilder surveyed more than 2,200 hiring managers, it found “best of breed” to be the most irritating term to be seen on a résumé.

The phrase offers little meaning and doesn’t help differentiate candidates. “Employers want to know what makes the job seekers unique, and how they will add value to the specific organization for which they’re applying,” Lorenz says.

4. ‘Phone’

Career coach Eli Amdur tells Business Insider that there is no reason to put the word “phone” in front of the actual number: “It’s pretty silly. They know it’s your phone number.”

The same rule applies to email.

5. ‘Results-driven’

“Instead of simply saying that you’re results-driven, write about what you did to actually drive results — and what those results were,” Lorenz suggests.

6. ‘Seasoned’

“Not only does this word conjure up images of curly fries,” says Rita Friedman, a Philadelphia-based career coach, but “it is well-recognized as a code word for ‘much, much older.'”

7. ‘Highly qualified’

McDonald says using terms like “highly qualified” or “extensive experience” won’t make you seem better suited for the job — in fact, it could have the opposite effect. Instead, he suggests you focus on the skills, accomplishments, and credentials you bring to the role.

8. ‘Responsible for’

Superfluous words like “responsible for,” “oversight of,” and “duties included” unnecessarily complicate and hide your experience, says Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Résumé Strategists.

“Be direct, concise, and use active verbs to describe your accomplishments,” she suggests.

Instead of writing, “Responsible for training interns …,” simply write, “Train interns …”

9. ‘NYSE’

Vicky Oliver, author of “Power Sales Words” and “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions,” says you should spell out any acronyms first and put the initials in parentheses. For example, “NYSE” would read “New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).”

“For starters, acronyms are capitalized, and all caps are harder to read than upper and lower case,” she says. “It’s also really difficult to wade through a piece of paper that resembles alphabet soup.”

10. ‘References available by request’

This outdated phrase will unnecessarily show your age, Gelbard says: “If you progress through the interviewing process, you will be asked for personal and professional references.”

11. ‘Ambitious’

“Of course you would never say you’re ‘lazy’ either, but calling yourself ambitious doesn’t make any sense on a résumé,” Friedman says.

“It can imply that you’re targeting this job now, but will quickly be looking to move up in the company because you won’t be satisfied in the role, leaving the employer stuck with doing a new job search in the very near future.”

12. ‘Team player’

“Who doesn’t want to be a team player? If you’re not a team player, you’re probably not going to get the job,” McDonald says.

But using this term isn’t going to make you stand out from other candidates. “Instead, use an example of how you saved a company time, money, and resources on a team project or in collaboration with others.”

13. ‘Microsoft Word’

Yes, you and everyone else.

It’s assumed that you have a basic proficiency in Microsoft Office, Gelbard says. Unless you have expert proficiency, there’s no need to include it on your résumé.

14. ‘Interfaced’

“Words like this make you sound like an automaton,” Oliver says. “Most recruiters would rather meet with a human being. Keep your verbs simple and streamlined.”

15. ‘Hard worker’

It’s true that a company is less likely to consider you if you haven’t worked hard or don’t come across as someone who will put in what it takes to get the job done, but that doesn’t mean writing “hard worker” will convince hiring managers of your efforts.

“Give concrete examples of how you’ve gone the extra mile, rather than using a non-memorable cliché,” McDonald suggests.

16. ‘Hard’

Speaking of the word “hard,” using it to describe your work tasks can also have a negative effect.

ZipRecruiter hosts a database of more than 3,000,000 résumés, which small businesses, individual employers, and recruiters looking for candidates can rate on a scale of one to five stars (one being the lowest, five the highest). After ZipRecruiter analyzed these résumés and their ratings, it found a correlation between certain keywords and low ratings.

The word “hard” was found to a strong correlation with one-star reviews, with up to a 79% greater likelihood of receiving the lowest rating. It’s likely the word gives employers the impression that you’re put off by hard work.

17. ‘Punctual’

Being punctual is great, but it’s also pretty basic to holding down a job. Don’t waste the space on your résumé.

Read the full article from Business Insider by clicking here.

 

12 Surprising Job Interview Tips

You’re almost there. Your resume landed you an interview and now it’s time to seal the deal. So what’s the best way to prepare?

To find the answer, I looked back on my interviews, sifted through research, and most importantly, asked employees from today’s most coveted companies. I tried to find deep insights beyond the typical “sit up straight!” and “dress to impress!” tips we hear too much.

Below you’ll find the 12 best tips to help before, during and after your interview.job-interview-ease-nerves

BEFORE

 1.    Research Earnings Calls, Quarterly Reports & Blog Posts

In today’s world, content is king. Goldman Sachs publishes quarterly reports, Microsoft records its earning calls, and every startup has a blog.

With so much out there, I’m baffled that few of us look past the company’s homepage. It’s like we’re writing an essay on The Odyssey without quoting a single passage from the book.

Example: If you’re interviewing with Google, here’s two ways to answer: “What’s Google’s biggest opportunity in the next 5 years?”

  • Weak: “I think wearable technology will be big because Google Glass and Apple Watch represent a new trend that shows…”
  • Strong: “Call me geeky, but I was listening to Google’s quarterly earnings call and was blown away by the fact that display advertising hit over $5 billion in the past few years. Therefore, I think that…”

Neither answer is wrong, but the latter says much more. It shows you’ve done your homework and give answers rooted in data.

2.   Use Google Alerts

Keeping up with company news is hard, especially if you’re interviewing with multiple places at once. That’s why Google Alerts is a savior; it’s a tool that emails you anytime a new story appears for a specific term. That way, you learn about current events without searching for them.

 Example: If you’re applying to Creative Artists Agency, follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.google.com/alerts
  2. Type in “Creative Artists Agency”
  3. Put in your email address if you’re not already logged in to Gmail

Soon enough, you’ll get updates on CAA and have more ammo for your interview.

3. Use Social Sweepster To Clean Your Facebook & Twitter

Nowadays, 91% of employers search your social media for any red flags. While most people tell you to watch every single thing you upload, there’s a much easier solution. Use Social Sweepster, an app that detects pictures of red solo cups, beer bottles, and other “suspicious” objects. It even detects profanity from your past posts! Now, that’s f%$king awesome!

“Too many recruiters reject candidate because of something they found on their social platforms” Social Sweepster CEO Tom McGrath says. “We help you create the first impression on your own terms.”

4. Schedule For Tuesday at 10:30 AM

According to Glassdoor, the best time to interview is 10:30 AM on Tuesday. Remember, your interviewer has a world of responsibilities beyond hiring. They’re responding to emails, balancing projects, and meeting tons of other candidates so it’s crucial to consider when they’ll be in the best mental state to meet you.

10:30 AM Tuesday is the sweet spot because you:

  • Avoid the bookends. On Mondays and Fridays, employees gear up for the week or wind down. By the same token, avoid the first or last slots of any workday.
  • Avoid lunchtime. Immediately before noon, your interviewer may be too hungry to concentrate; immediately after, they may be in a food coma.

But there’s a caveat. Research shows it’s best to take the earliest interview slot “in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation because preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first.”

Bottom line: if the firm is hiring for a job starting in a few months, try to interview late morning between Tuesday through Thursday. If the firm is hiring immediately, grab the earliest slot.

5. Craft Your “Story Statement”

 Though most interviews start with the same prompt (“tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume”), we blow it off with boring answers like:

I studied [major X] because I really care about making a difference in [industry Y] as you can see through my last job at [company Z]…

This answer is like tearing out the first 200 pages of your autobiography. You leave out everything that gives meaning to why you want this job in the first place. What was your moment of epiphany? How did your childhood influence you? Why does this job move you? Most people don’t answer these questions. They start and end with their professional experience, leaving little to inspire the interviewer.

Next time, use what I call a “Story Statement,” which is a Cliff Notes of your autobiography.

Example: Here’s an amazing Story Statement that Teach For America fellow Kareli Lizarraga used for her interviews.

I grew up in California and Arizona after immigrating to the United States when I was four years old. Since neither of my parents went to college, I relied on my high school teachers to help me apply to top universities. With their support, I was able to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Then I spent a summer at a Washington DC law firm, which represented low-income students and helped me realize that my passion lay within creating educational opportunities for all.

I decided to become a teacher because I see myself so deeply reflected in the stories of so many students in your schools – and that’s why I’m so excited about the opportunity to interview with you today. Like my teachers did for me, I want to impact the next generation of students by supporting them and understanding the experiences they’re facing.

A Story Statement shows that you’re a person, not just a professional.  It also makes it easy for your interviewer to predict the next chapter of your story. For Kareli, Teach For America is a logical next step. Of course, if she interviewed for Apple, she may change her Story Statement to include an early experience with her first computer and talk about how her passion for tech grew from there. For a Bain interview, she could mention how she started problem solving at a young age and now wants to do it on a big scale.

Chances are, we’ve all had experiences we can connect to where we’re trying to go. It’s just a matter of selecting the right ones to tell our story. That said, if you struggle to craft your Story Statement for a particular interview, you might be applying for the wrong job.

6. Wear a Subtle Fashion Statement

We already know dressing well makes a difference. But what if we took our attention to detail a step further? That’s exactly what Morgan Stanley analyst Julio German Arias Castillo did for his interviews.

“Wear something that represents your culture or background,” he says. “In my case, I always wear a pin of the Panamanian flag on my suit lapel. Most of my interviewers ask about it so it becomes a chance to discuss my upbringing and love of my homeland.”

Julio created a conversation starter with his clothing. Depending on the company, you can be more playful: wear a bracelet from your recent travels to India, a tie with a quirky pattern, or — if you can pull it off — a small mockingjay pin if you’re a Hunger Games fan. As long as it’s subtle and tasteful, your fashion statement can build rapport through fun conversations about your hometown or mutual love for Katniss Everdeen.job-interview-tips-infographic-every-vowel-1216x1940

7. Prepare for The “What’s Your Weakness?” Question

 Most people overthink this question and give a canned answer like “I’m too much of a perfectionist!” Others give a genuine answer but still fall short of what this question is really asking. It’s not about admitting your weaknesses. It’s about showing how you overcome them. What systems have you put in place? What progress have you made? Include those thoughts to strengthen your answer.

Example:

  • Weak: “My weakness is that I struggle to run efficient meetings…”
  • Strong: “I sometimes struggle to run efficient meetings. But I’ve worked to improve by drafting an agenda before every meeting, sending it to all participants, and then following up with a recap and clear action items so everyone knows what to do moving forward.”

8. Brainstorm 3 “PAR” Anecdotes

Your interview is as memorable as the stories you share. Many people have fascinating experiences but forget them when they’re on the spot.  To remedy this, have three anecdotes ready to plug into your interview. Your anecdotes should follow a simple format:

  1. Problem – what was the situation?
  2. Action – what did you do to solve it?
  3. Result – what changed afterwards?

With this format, you can adapt your PAR anecdotes to fit a variety of questions such as “tell me about a time you worked with a team” or “when have you struggled most?”

Example: University of Pennsylvania Senior Hunter Horsley has a terrific PAR anecdote for his interviews.

  • Problem: “When I worked on Lore, an education tech startup, our big marketing challenge was finding a way to get professors to try our product. Ads are inefficient and competitors like Blackboard and Canvas had sales teams call IT administrators to sign multi-year contracts — a very slow and expensive process. We needed to move faster.”
  • Action: ”We realized that students preferred our product so we teamed up with about 200 students from 100 colleges. They developed a custom outreach plan for their campus and we provided resources to support them.”
  • Result: “This was highly effective in creating awareness with professors. In fact, it became a competitive advantage. During our first two semesters, our team of 15 people drove adoption that outpaced a competing product launched by Pearson at the same time. An additional benefit was that the approach created brand affinity. Because professors heard about the tool from students instead of an ad, the value proposition came across more authentically.”

nervous-before-interview

DURING

9.    Think Aloud on Analytical Questions

Some interviews include tough analytical questions. Whether you’re solving for an exact number (“what’s the EBITDA of Company X?”) or rough estimate (“how many ping pong balls can fit in a Boeing 777?”), it’s important to talk through your thinking. Don’t just give an answer; show how you got there.

Example: Consider these two answers to “How many lawn mowers are there today in the United States?”

  • Weak: After 45 seconds of silence, you blurt out “75 million!”
  • Strong: You’re talking the entire way through, sharing your calculations and assumptions.

“Let’s start from the top down. Assuming the US population is 300 million and each household averages 3 people, then we have 100 million families in the US. Let’s assume urban households don’t have lawns to mow and therefore only suburban and rural families buy lawnmowers. If roughly 25% of America is urban and 75% is suburban and rural then we have 75 million households that own a lawnmower.”

(side note: it’s okay to make assumptions and for those assumptions to be off. But that’s why you need to communicate them first).

This is a great way to show your communication skills alongside your analytical ones. Plus, if you make an error, it’s easier to know where you went wrong and fix it.

10. Ask Questions That Kill Two Birds With One Stone

At the end of your interview, it’ll be your turn to ask a few questions. This is a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone – that is, asking a genuine question while conveying something new about you. Most people just do the first part and forgo a final chance to impress the interviewer.

Example:

  • Weak: Will this role provide opportunities to work in emerging markets?
  • Strong: I’m passionate about languages and minored in Arabic in college. Will this role provide opportunities to work in emerging markets in the Middle East?
  • Weak: Are there opportunities for community service?
  • Strong: I used to work with Habitat for Humanity and was so grateful for the opportunity to give back. For a full time employee, are there company-wide community service events that I could take part in?
  • Weak: What’s [Company X]’s fastest growing division?
  • Strong: According to your quarterly report, your revenues grew by 17%. Is that because of a particular division within the company?

This works beautifully if you haven’t found a natural way to bring up an accomplishment or cite a publication beforehand.

11. Grow A Backbone & Ask This Final Question

This one takes guts — and that’s why I love it. Spredfast Product Manager Luke Fernandez says it’s the “single piece of advice that has consistently made a difference.”

Before your interview ends, ask this one last question: “Have I said anything in this interview or given you any other reason to doubt that I am a good fit for the role?”

“It’s bold, but if delivered honestly, it displays true desire and confidence,” Luke said. “I’ve been commended for that specific question in interviews with Google, YouTube, BCG, Deloitte, Twitter, and Spredfast. In one situation, the interviewer actually said yes and gave me the chance to clarify something that would have otherwise lost me an offer.”

Talk about badass!

AFTER

12. Email a Personalized Thank You Note

Thank your interviewer within 24 hours of finishing. It not only shows your gratitude, it also combats recency bias if you interviewed early. Not to mention, it opens the door for dialogue even if you don’t get the job. Sometimes, recruiters reach back out on the same email thread months later, mentioning new job opportunities.

 Example: Accenture senior analyst Anthony Scafidi shared a wonderful email from Robert Hsu, an interviewee whose follow up email shows how to do it right.

Hi Anthony,

Appreciate your taking the time to chat with me today. I really enjoyed hearing about your two projects so far, how much you love the people at Accenture, and how you’ve been able to continue your community service work even while working. (Hope you had a good meeting with your mentee!) Best wishes on your current project.

Sincerely,

Robert

This piece was originally published by Forbes.

11 ways to pad out your résumé without lying

By Rachel Gillett

If you’re sitting in front of your computer, wracking your brain trying to come up with skills to add to your résumé, you’re not alone.

Few people think about their accomplishments and abilities in the same terms as a hiring manager. But, with the help of some career experts, you can easily — and honestly — pad out your résumé with key skills recruiters look for. Here’s how:

Consider some of the most common skills recruiters search for

“The most common skills people forget to showcase are the transferable skills that recruiters use general search terms to find — things that can be measured,” says J.T. O’Donnell, a career and workplace expert, founder of career advice site, CAREEREALISM.com, and author of “Careerealism: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career.”

These include:

• Software you are proficient in (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Office)
• Project Management
• Marketing
• Sales
• Customer Service
• Budgeting
• Recruiting
• Management

Specialize your skills 

The skills recruiters look for when they scan through résumés depend on the type of position they’re trying to fill, says Rita Friedman, a Philadelphia-based career coach.

For example, if you’re applying for a position that requires technical knowledge, include specific examples of technology or equipment you use, even if it could be reasonably assumed you must know these things, Friedman suggests.

Scan through a ton of job postings
“To ensure that you’re including relevant information on your résumé, carefully review job postings and highlight the parts that make you say, ‘Oh, I do that all the time!'” Friedman suggests. “When you’re writing your own resume, it can be hard to be objective, and you may forget about things that you’re so good at doing they come to you automatically.”

Research people with the jobs you want

Friedman and O’Donnell both suggest checking out the LinkedIn pages of people whose jobs you’d like. Check out their “Skills & Endorsements” section and identify which ones you could justify putting on your profile too.

Ask a friend

Similarly to looking at a stranger’s LinkedIn page, talk to friends who have jobs similar to the line of work you’re looking to get into. There’s no harm in asking to take a look at their résumés and scanning their skills section for anything you could reasonably add to your own.

The key is to use this as a jumping off point and personalize it — be sure you’re not simply cutting and pasting what they’ve written. You should be able to back these skills up with your own concrete examples.

Diversify your list of skills

“When evaluating a résumé, recruiters are looking for two big qualities: hustle and curiosity,” says Kate Swoboda, creator of the Courageous Coaching Training Program.

She says employers today are looking for résumés that demonstrate the person takes initiative and is motivated by curiosity.

“These days, coders are now expected to interact with clients, and the person in charge of crafting the company’s next great tweet might also be called upon to help with some aspects of visual design,” Swoboda explains. “Recruiters are looking for people who are curious enough and motivated enough to go beyond their technical job description because that adds more value for a company.”

Don’t be afraid to make it personal

“I’m very much in the camp of not hiding your personal life, skill set, and interests from a prospective employer,” says Michelle Ward, a creative career coach and co-author of “The Declaration of You!”

She suggests including skills you’ve learned from outside passions, whether that includes owning an Etsy shop or planning your best friend’s wedding.

“I think, more and more, companies want to see a well-rounded, inquisitive, personable candidate that is right for the job and would be someone interesting to have in the office,” she says. “Just make sure to relate that experience back to how it’d be value for the company/position you’re applying for.”

Consider what you’re proud of

Friedman suggests you make a list of the things you’re especially proud of accomplishing in your jobs and then think about what skills you used to accomplish these.

“If you reduced the amount of time it takes to complete a task, you may have strong skills revolving around process improvement or automation,” she says. “If you got back the business of a former client who left, you may have a talent for repairing damaged relationships.”

Don’t forget what others are proud of, too

Ward suggests asking yourself, “What do people thank me for? What do I get complimented on, repeatedly?”

Break these complements down into the skills you used to get them.

Quantify your skills

Before you add any skills to your list, O’Donnell suggests you ask yourself a number of questions like:

• How many projects have I led?
• How many people were on the team?
• How many customers were affected by my work?
• How many people did I train?
• How much money was involved?
• What kind of results/savings did I get?

“If you ask yourself enough of these, you find your way to validate and quantify your experience in a way a recruiter can understand,” she says.

Friedman agrees and says it’s always better to show rather than tell on your résumé.

“For example, if you’re in sales, you don’t just need to hit keywords like ‘business development’ or ‘consultative selling;’ you need to have quantifiable examples of your skill set in action: ‘Increased sales over previous year by 63%.'”

Talk it out

Talk about your experiences out loud with someone, preferably a professional or someone who has work experience, suggests Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Résumé Strategists.

“They hear things differently and can help you translate your internships, jobs, extracurricular, and educational experiences into important skills for a potential job.”

This was originally posted by Business Insider on August 31, 2016.